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1717619939031.jpg Walmart

Walmart adds drone delivery to its app

The retail giant is also beta testing an AI-powered shopping assistant

Walmart is integrating Wing drone delivery into its smartphone app for select stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area later this month, the company announced on Friday. 

The retail giant rolled out the Wing drone program, operated by Google’s parent company Alphabet, in August of 2023 and has since expanded the program to 75% of the Dallas Fort-Worth population. 

Walmart said in the announcement that it has fulfilled more than 30,000 drone orders through the program. 

Currently, shoppers who wish to receive their orders via drone must do so through the Wing app. Customers in Dallas-Fort Worth will soon be notified that they can place drone orders directly through the Walmart app, the company said. 

“The integration will be done in phases as more drone delivery sites launch and drone providers receive additional regulatory approvals to fly more goods across greater distances,” Walmart said in a press release. 

Supermarket News visited the company’s drone operation in Frisco, Texas, in May and was given a demonstration of the drone program, which takes up a small section of the store parking lot. 

See the video:

Jacob Demmitt, who oversees marketing for Wing, said during the demonstration that the Frisco operation houses 18 drones that can fly up to six miles at a speed of up to 65 miles an hour.

The drones operate autonomously, travel to the delivery site, lower the package — it can carry a maximum of  three pounds — to the ground with a tether, and then return to the launchpad. Deliveries typically take less than 30 minutes, Demmitt said. Their fastest delivery at the location was made in under three minutes.

Walmart also announced that it is beta testing an AI-powered shopping assistant that “engages customers in natural, free-flowing conversations.”

“As customers discover, evaluate, and decide on the best product for them, the assistant can guide them to make the best choice for their unique needs, faster,” the company said in the press release. “For instance, the shopping assistant can respond to customer inquiries such as, “What”s the ideal present for a 5 year old?’” 

Walmart said the AI assistant will evolve over time to feature more advanced capabilities,

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